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Discussion Starter #1
Recently raced against one of these. Was impressed by its looks in the water and its performance. When I found out it is trailerable, etc... yet does not look out of place on water when compared to MacGregor I was intrigued.

Anybody have any comments about these boats? It seems like a lovely 26 footer that performs admirably and races well.

Thanks

Mike

Full Tilt 2
Niagara 26
 

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The S2s are a family of good quality, nicely designed boats, and the 7.9 is particularly sweet. I think them the only coastal-capable example of trailerable boats. The MacGregor is not in the same calls of quality as an S2.
I'd buy one in a minute, and have always offerred them as my small boat recommendation when trailerable or shallow draft are requirements.
 

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The S2 7.9 is primarliy meant to be used for racing. Have you seen the interior?? It is spartan to say the least.

Take a good look at it and see if it meets your needs. They are pretty well built although like most boats their age they can have issues with wet decks. Also take one for a sail before buying. They are very popular on the race course.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Guys

I was looking on Yachtworld last evening and agree the interior leaves a lot to be desired. Funny they would not spend the little bit more effort to make it nice.

Lately we have been racing rather than cruising and spend very little time inside the cabin. From the outside the S2 7.9 looks pretty, appears to sail very well and yet is trailer launchable. If I were looking for a trailerable boat capable of the occasional overnight I would certainly consider this one.

With the centerboard boat how does it achieve stability though? Saturday we were out in over 20 knots with 5 foot choppy swells racing with spinnakers and upwind and yet this boat sailed like a very fast keelboat. I would have thought it unballasted and therefore less seaworthy than a keel boat.

I have seen the old Mac 25s, the Chrysler 26 and newer Mac 26 boats and always thought that the trailerability led to unacceptable compromises. Yet with this boat it looks like a sailboat with a sturdy rig, nice lines and very good performance.

It is an intriguing boat and with a decent interior would be my first choice ina 26 foot racer/cruiser.

Mike
 

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Mike I have raced against 7.9's since they first came out. That was when I was racing my Niagara. They are very stable and no one seems to worry about anything they might come up against on the lakes.

The dagger board is 600 lbs, in fact the largest winch on the boat is used to haul it up. They have a wide flat bottom for good initial stablity and also internal ballast but I forget how much.

We have about 8 in Sarnia and I have not heard any complaints. Your best bet is find one racing locally and go crew with them. I considered one this winter but went with the 9.1 instead. I really wanted some interior but now I cannot afford sails. :(

Also I like a boat with lots of feel in the tiller, the 7.9 has little feedback here so you really have to watch the ticklers.

PM me if you want to come to down and race on one.

Gary
 

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Mike,

The weighted dagger board probably provides greater stiffness than the typical centerboard design. However, they also made this boat with a fin keel - do you know that you observed was in fact sa daggger board model?

Most trailer boats like the Macs are basically toy boats not suitable for coastal use, mor elike big Sunfishes. The S2s are quality coastal cruisers some of which happen to be trailerable. I personally would not buy a trailerable version unless I HAD to trailer the boat frequesntly. The fin keel 7.9 is a very sweet boat.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes - it is the daggerboard version and they are trailering it to a race week this week.

As we are 2 hrs from boat it may be nice to have the boat on hand during off season for maintenance.

Not really considering buying one as we have a Niagara 26 which sails similarly. It is just that I was extremely impressed with the performance of this boat upwind and downwind in waves, chop and flat water in light and heavier airs. I never expected that I would ever see a trailer launchable boat that was highway trailerable and would look like a sailboat and sail like one too.

I would put this boat on a list of boats to buy if I were looking for another boat in the size range I now have. Getting to races over 70NM away makes the trailer idea seem nice as well.

Mike
 

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Mike,

I own and sail a 7.9, after a J-24 and I love the boat. Most are outboards, which is faster for racing purposes and a bit cheaper. I have a diesel inboard, since we mostly cruise. Be aware, though, the original diesels that S2 put in were called BMW (not the car company),and I have talked to many owners that had lots of problems with them - very hard to get parts, etc. I have a Yanmar - works great. The boat is fast, points very high. From the other messages you know it races well. I have rigged up an electric winch at the front of the trailer to raise and lower the mast. Just my wife and I have hauled her up to Grand Travers Bay from Lk St Clair, and in about an hour and a half raised the mast, rigged her, and launched. The boat is relatively stiff in a blow. We added a Harken roller furler to the 155 genoa, which makes it very easy to single hand and control in any weather. It is not elegant down below, but we have found it cozy and workable for cruising. Hope you can find one.

Bob K
 

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Mike,
Most trailer boats like the Macs are basically toy boats not suitable for coastal use, more like big Sunfishes. The S2s are quality coastal cruisers some of which happen to be trailerable.
As GaryM said
"The S2 7.9 is primarliy meant to be used for racing. Have you seen the interior?? It is spartan to say the least."

Yes relative to bigger boats the Macs are toy boats, so are most other entry level boats 26' and under, most are relatively simple & basic boats.
I sail a Mac in coastal waters with no problems, so do many others, they are sailed here in the PNW-Puget Sound Gulf & San Juan Islands and out to the Bahamas as well as Catalina Island and the Great Lakes. They handle coastal waters in their stride and are very well suited for it. They are not race boats like the S2 but more of a pocket cruiser and for their small size they offer a voluminous interior much more spacious than other boats of similar size, (I can stand up in mine and I am 6').
The S2 is a nice day sailor/racer and that is it's main focus but the Macs are still a comfortable coastal cruiser for a toy boat.
I can vacate my slip and park in my driveway any time, makes trailerability a desireable aspect since I do not have to sell my boat to divest the slip if finances dictate. Trailerable increases affordable.
 

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Just thought I'd add my $0.02 to this thread.

I've owned a Capri 22, a Capri 25, and now this S2 7.9. I've raced for the last 3 years in my Capri 25 with my direct competition being a J/24, J22, and the S2 7.9. The most formidable of which was the S2 7.9.

The S2 7.9 Grand slam was a racer cruiser part of a sub-line within S2 in a attempt to make racing boats that also served up some nice accomodations for cruising.

The S2 7.9 rates like a J/24 in speed, has 5'8" headroom for the highest point in the cabin, has a decent sized V birth, a foot pump sink, porta-pottie to starboard enclosed with a curtain, and came in 4 basic versions.. of 550ish hulls.
1) A fractional rig with a lifting keel with outboard
2) A fractional rig with a lifting keel with inboard (2 brands of inboard, yanmar and BMW)
3) A masthead rig with fixed keel and inboard (only 50ish of these made)
4) Exceedingly rare masthead rig with fixed keel, and outboard (these might have been converted number 3s).

The 12ft boom of the fractionally rigged lifting keel outboard model is what I own, and stepping up to this 26 footer from my 25 foot Capri 25, with fixed keel and outboard, the S2 is kind of a different animal. The J/24 and Capri 25 are similar boats in limited room down below, and similar speed to the S2 7.9, however, they really fit into a different category.

Ok, lets talk odd..
The transom hung rudder is, well, pretty massive. It's 60ish lbs of gudgeons (yep the gudgeons are on the rudder side) the pintles are mounted on the transom. This massive lifting body is powerful, but thick. It provides a sure amount of lift, and for sure drag on the boat. The tiller is not "heavy" in it's feel under sail, but the fact that it technically "kicks up" is probably an after-thought. One wants to make sure the pin is securely in place because the slightest amount of wobble in the kick can lead to a strong weather helm. Once properly placed and locked though the boat has a nice even feel, and following the tuning guides has a slight weather helm.

The standard backstay rig is a pinch style like the Capri 25. This provides adequate mast bend, but not through a huge amount of range. Most owners upgrade to a cascade style rig, and remove the wire and go to amsteel or dyneema cored line and a flicker. You see the standard mainsail has a significant roach, and a flicker is "helpful" to tack the main in light air especially.

I solo sail a lot, and wouldn't own a boat without a traveler at my fingertips while sailing, but that being the case the standard 5:1 of the mainsheet, I believe to be overkill in all but the higher (20+) wind speeds. dropping to a 4:1 allows one to keep the mainsheet at the attachment point and makes it easier to dump as the winds pipe up.

The lifting weighted daggerboard often turns some heads on these boats, and it certainly provides a boat with a flatter bottom, and in reality the daggerboard fully retracts into the boat. This makes for VERY easy trailer launching. Lifting the mast is still a job best for 2 or 3, but with some ingenuity it can be done alone. This was a primary consideration for me along with easy trailer launching.

The primaries are just a touch too far forward for solo sailing for me, and the cleats a bit a of a PITA even cross sheeting, but still better than most other boats its size for solo sailing. For crew it would be a non-issue, and actually are nicely located for the jib trimmer to sit far enough forward and high side to see the leading edge of the jib.

Most S2 7.9s are setup for racing. With the large roach main creating a generous sailplan and reducing your headsail inventory to basically a #1 and #3 (155, and 110) allows the boat to cover a pretty large wind range with few pieces of sailcloth aboard for inventory. In fact you can carry your #1 with a full crew of 5, well up and into 20 knots. With a reef point on the main, you can really scale up with the winds. The massive telephone pole of a mast isn't exactly "bendy" but it provides enough to allow enough flattening with some backstay pressure, also taking out the headstay sag.

Because of the fractional design (on most of the boats) the spinnaker is also fractional, making it slightly easier to handle than my old Capri 25 (a masthead rig). I've only sailed with the spin up a few times on this S2 but I can already tell it'll be much easier to deal with overall than the Capri 25. Given the transom hung rudder and barndoor size of it, I expect it'll be easier to keep the boat under the spin as the winds pick up too.

Beyond the good points if you are considering the S2 7.9... its spirited, but easy to control, launches easily, is big enough to handle some wind... Things to look for? Look for leaking chainplates, and soft core around chainplates.. Mast steps that are soft, or sagging. Soft core at the pintles (on the transom). Fat keel and or rudder (delam). Core issues are almost always due to neglect in bedding on hardware... Look especially around hardware that was "recently added" to the boat. This is a heavy layup boat, with a high quality end-grain balsa core. If the weave leaks it fights rot as good as any wood cored boat can... but problems must be addressed quickly to prevent a large repair bill. Many of the repairs can be affected from below (out of sight) and under the monkeyfuzz liner within.

The S2 7.9 is unique in that besides the 600lb daggerboard, the boat also has about 900 lbs of weight in the bilge area. This keeps the boat upright even with daggerboard up. It should be noted that the inboard models had 700lbs of weight added and true outboard models had 900... Several boats were converted from inboard design to outboard design and neglected this weight difference. Reasons for the conversion were multi-faceted, but generally boil down to, the outboard models are marginally faster (esp in lighter air) and the early BMW inboards are difficult to get parts for, and therefore its easier to pull the 1cyl diesel and just deal with the outboards.

These boats were made from 1981 to 1986 in a steady production run with limited production runs well into the 90s. About 1986 they changed the process with which the built the boats and it lends itself to less blistering issues versus the earlier models. The problems with blister are on par with other boats its age and aren't considered extreme.

These boats really do nicely upwind and can point with some of the best there is especially with the #3 up. The single upper and single lower with swept spreaders mean for a very stable rig that needs little help from a backstay except to help bend the rig.

Lastly if you need some true expert opinions on these (still growing in popularity) sailboats... checkout the national association at S2 7.9 Class Association
 
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